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From: Vol.10 N.01 – The Transformative Now


by Nola Firth
Gilgamesh,								                    he took the axe in his 
hand 									 	                   and said, I am 
committed to 								                               this enterprise 
this industry, to 							                    cut down the cedar to 
leave behind me 								                       an enduring 
name for 								               international 
demand has begun 					            to grow rapidly. The forest 
stretches for ten thousand 				    leagues in every direction—then it 
was so, upon all the 				         earth, but Gilgamesh, he took the 
axe in his hand to fulfil 				         vitally important supply and 
demand relationships. 				 The hugeness of the cedar rose in 
front of the mountain. Its 			            shade was beautiful, full of comfort; 
moisture, life. BUT they 			         felled seven cedars, cut and bound   
the branches and laid 			       them at the foot of the mountain, native 
forest for 					       commercial harvest. Cleared their roots 
as far as the banks 				       of Euphrates. No creek buffer left at 
all. For as far as two 				          leagues the cedars shivered, saw the 

          a million species at risk. 	

          Humbaba, god of the forest, 	heard the noise	 saw half the world’s
forest gone. 	      Enraged, he cried out, 
‘Who is this that has violated my woods and cut down my cedar, 
removed all shelter, dried out the land?’		

Daylight failed and darkness fell, lightnings flashed, fire blazed out a weird red 
           light    the darkest, darkest night at 9 am 	         the clouds lowered, 	
                    they rained down 
           thousands of people trapped on the foreshore, 
dead birds at every step on the beach—black cockatoos, parrots,
           whipbirds, 			koalas screaming, 	    over a billion
incinerated, 	      12 million acres burnt	
all was turned to ashes fallen about us. 	


Italicised lines are from The Epic of Gilgamesh written in 2100 BC (translated by N.K. Sanders). Non-italicised phrases include phrases from a timber industry website and newspaper reports of the 2020 Australian bushfires.

Published: June 2023
Nola Firth

In addition to academic publications and a biography, Nola Firth has published two poetry collections: Even if the Sun (Melbourne Poets Union, 2013), and Counting on Murwillumbah, (Mark Time Books, 2018). Nola has been short-listed for several national poetry prizes, won the Byron Writers Festival Dangerously Poetic Poetry Prize in 2017 and was equal winner of the Rhonda Jancovic Literary Award in 2015. She holds a PhD and is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne and a Churchill Fellow. She moved from Victoria to Murwillumbah New South Wales in 2016 and in 2022 was elected as a Greens Councillor for the Tweed Shire Council.

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.